The official history of the controversial Sudan campaign of 1884, one of Victorian Britain's less happy colonial military exploits. The author, Colonel Colvile, himself took part in the campaign and his work was vetted by the War Office and his brother officers before publication. The first volume in this facsimile three-volume publication deals with the events leading up to the campaign itself. The legendary General Charles Gordon, with inadequate back-up and delusions of his own abilities, found himself besieged in the Sudan's capital, Khartoum, by the fanatical followers of the Mahdi, a Muslim religious leader who had proclaimed himself a prophet foretold by Mohammed, destined to unite the whole world in one Islamic stat.e. Very late in the day, a reluctant William Gladstone, Liberal prime minister, was prodded by public opinion into mounting an expedition under Lord Garnet Wolseley to go to Gordon's rescue. Volume 1 closes with the forces of the Mahdi spreading across the Sudan, and threatening Gordon in Khartoum, while Wolseley moves slowly south down the Nile.Volume 2 opens with the Anglo-Egyptian relieving force held up on its journey south by its steamers repeatedly running aground. When it finally reached Khartoum, it was only to learn that the city has fallen and Gordon had been killed. The retreat from Khartoum was as fraught with danger as the advance had been, with both the Camel Corps and the River Column, marching on subsidiary punitive expeditions, and led until his death by General Earle, and then by Colonel Brackenbury, fighting desperate actions against the Dervish followers of the Mahdi. Volume 2 ends with the decision to evacuate the Sudan and the death of the Mahdi - vengeance for Gordon's death would have to await the advent of Kitchener at Omdurman thirteen years later. The third volume in this publication contains ten campaign maps. The two first volumes are also profusely illustrated with diagrams, battle plans and engravings. Taken together, these volumes present an authoritative and indispensible picture of one of Britain's most famous wars of Empire.